Of what relevance is influence where there is power?
He who pays the Piper dictates the tone. Influence and power are two different things. Employees are bound by contract to do as they are told.
In some organizations, it is clearly
Hierarchy is a constant variable in the workplace. There is a top-down relationship between employers and employees, with the former being superior. Some degree of authority is needed to effectively coordinate people. However, a study by Social Market Foundation shows that happy employees are more productive than unhappy ones by 20%.
Employees are anything but happy when they are forced. Influence motivates employees to go the extra mile even when no one is watching.
Here are 4 ways to have true influence on your employees:
1. Be human
In an attempt to draw the line, employers often try not to be friendly with their subordinates. This rides on the misconception that being a meaner boss helps the company to grow. Meanness may get the job done, but not necessarily the best of it.
Employees have a permanent identity – they are first and foremost human beings, and until they pass away, that will not change. They deserve to be treated right.
You do not necessarily have to be friends with your staff. There are dangers of
Being the boss is no doubt a great achievement; you worked hard to get here. But that is no reason to be insensitive to people’s feelings.
A study conducted at the University of Michigan reveal that, when employers show compassion at work, collective resilience increases. We all have days when we are great and days when we are not so proud of ourselves. When employees are having one of those bad days, do not be too hard on them.
Allow yourself to express human emotions. Smile when you are pleased, laugh when something is funny and compliment things that appeal to you.
2. Break down the walls
The workplace should not be a monarchy where high walls are built to demarcate royals from commoners. Achieving organizational goals is a collective effort, one that is inclusive of every member of an organization.
There is the need for healthy interactions. Isolating yourself from people whom you are supposed to be working with is counterproductive; you miss out on vital information that should be communicated to you directly.
Interacting with employees creates opportunities for mentorship. You get to know about what they are working on, and how well they are coming along. In the face of difficulties, they are free to approach you because they trust that you will be helpful. Over time, they begin to see you as not just their boss, but a role model of some sort.
3. Lead by example
The mantra: “do as I say, not as I do” raises a lot of questions. Do not be that boss who tells employees all the right things to do, but does not lift a finger to show them how to do it. The kind of boss who is good at detecting everything wrong about employee’s performance, but does not show them how to get it right.
Great leaders are not reluctant to get their hands ‘dirty.’ Rather than criticize everyone but themselves about not doing anything right, they roll up their sleeves, and show them how to do it right.
As the captain of the ship, you may have a lot of responsibilities on your hands, so you may not be actively involved in every task, but you need to identify when it is important to step in.
A study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology shows that
employees are willing to go beyond their formal job description if they see a
leader do so. Set the pace for every habit you want your workers to exhibit.
4. Invest in your staff
Excellence becomes the standard when human capital is constantly improving. Employees are the most valuable assets an organization has. Great leaders are not selfish, they create opportunities for those in their environment to equally improve.
Influence builds up when positive impact is made. Salaries are not the only benefits in a good working environment, there should be incentives to better the lives of employees.
How can your employees maximize their potentials?
Practically answering that question by creating opportunities for personal and career developments adds value to your organization in the long run.
An Elevation at Work: The Effects of Leaders’ Moral found that, when leaders are genuinely concerned about the affairs of their employees, they display a great deal of loyalty and commitment.
Seeking ways to make positive impacts in employees, shows that you have their interest at heart.
As you nurture your workers, you need to allow them to blossom. Take a step back, and let them execute tasks. They may not be perfect at first, but give them the benefit of the doubt. In time, they will become more efficient.
Like respect, true influence is not demanded; it is earned over a period of time. Influence thrives on goodwill.
As employees contribute their little quota to your organization, they should not be left empty from pouring all of themselves into work. When they are constantly rejuvenated, it is easier for them to do more.
Chris Odogwu is a Freelance Writer. He is the Founder of ContentMeal – a media agency that creates premium content for organizations around the world.